EPO: renoprotection beyond anemia correction
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- Fliser, D., Bahlmann, F.H. & Haller, H. Pediatr Nephrol (2006) 21: 1785. doi:10.1007/s00467-006-0284-2
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Until recently the major physiological function of erythropoietin (EPO) was thought to be the induction of erythropoiesis. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that EPO has tissue-protective properties and prevents ischemia induced tissue damage in several organs including the kidney. A pivotal intracellular pathway mediating the beneficial effects of EPO is the activation of Akt, i.e. serine/threonine protein kinase B. As a result, Akt phosphorylates the proapoptotic factor Bad, which in turn causes inhibition of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the present article we review data on the non-hematological effects of recombinant human EPO (rHuEPO) in different experimental settings of acute and chronic kidney injury, and discuss clinical renoprotective strategies with rHuEPO or analogues substances that are not related to anemia correction.